If you are like me, you’ve seen backyard landscape shows featuring outdoor fireplace kits used to install a wood or gas burning fireplace. In search of a unit that I could assemble myself that wouldn’t look like a DIY project, I quickly discovered some considerations that made my choice easier.
First of all, it had to be determined if we wanted the outdoor fire source to be portable or stationary. There are tons of options for each. I do like chimineas, but wanted the piece to make a statement in my landscape so I chose to go with an outdoor fireplace. The second choice was even easier, we chose to look at wood burning units because there is no natural gas where we live and didn’t want to figure out how to deal with keeping propane tanks or lines unburied from the snow. There is something about wood smoke that helps to create the entire experience of an outdoor fireplace. We can use any kindling or dropped wood we find without having to plan ahead and make sure the gas supply is sufficient. No running out of propane mid-burger cooking.
Since we live in a rural location and outdoor fireplace merchants are few and far between, it made sense to order online and we quickly found beautiful outdoor fireplace kits we liked. We decided on one that would arrive in components that lock together so we could easily assemble it. The model we chose required mortar that was supplied, but it didn’t require special stone mason skills to apply. We looked at one with a couple open sides so the fire could be viewed from other locations, but since it would be sited at one end of the stone patio, we went with a model where wood could be stored in a compartment located right in the fireplace unit itself.
The style and surface gave us even more choices. The company we purchased from offered several different concrete finishes specially manufactured to weather extreme outdoor conditions. Some were available painted pewter, sandstone, tan, taupe, copper on tan or tan on copper. Other units could be custom faced with stone. We wanted to be able to cook and heat our outside surroundings with it, but mostly we wanted it to be the focal point of the yard. It couldn’t be too opulent looking because our yard is pretty rustic. We didn’t like the look of plain concrete because it’s unnatural in our setting and we ended up deciding on a fireplace that burned wood, could cook and had a terracotta and a quartz finish on concrete.
The kit was very easy to put together, even with our limited DIY skills. All we needed was some very basic tools like a spatula, masking tape and gloves and the watchful eye and strength of a brother-in-law who is a carpenter and knows how to use a level. The fireplace went together fast and easy and we were able to put it to use soon after.
Buying an outdoor fireplace kit that we could put together ourselves turned out to be a great idea. It completes our backyard area and is the first thing anyone notices. It really looks professional and rich. We have used it for big family get-togethers and when just a couple of us want to relax, cook marshmallows and watch for fireflies. The only regret we have is that we didn’t order an outdoor fireplace kit much sooner.
An Outdoor Fireplace Can Make You Enjoy Outdoor Living During Chilly Days!
Having an outdoor fireplace is a great idea whether you put it in your deck, garden, pool and patio or wherever you choose it to be. Just imagine the different fun and entertainment activities you and your family, friends will enjoy. If you plan to be the one to handle the project yourself, it is necessary for you to familiarize yourself with the nitty-gritty details in its construction. There are various models of DIY fireplace kits which are very easy to assemble. They are designs which are equipped with necessary metal rings and materials to convert a wooden or charcoal fueled fireplace into a gas powered one.
There is an assortment of styles, shapes, materials and designs of an outdoor fireplace. There is the portable and movable fireplace or a permanent one with the chimney attached. You can opt for a chiminea which is an attractive style good for heating bonfire. It has accessories like stainless steel grills and doors if you want to do some cooking. Fuel used is charcoal or wood. They come in a variety of portable designs and sizes and shapes.
Fire pit table is another option. It is a rounded dish which handles the fire. There is a wide selection to choose from. You can have patio tables with fire pits in the center. You can use gas or wood as fuel. Another style of outdoor fireplace has gas log set to the fire pit. You can get vented logs to eliminate the need for a chimney. It is made of stainless steel design and includes a grate. Another unique model is a free standing ethanol or gel powered fireplace with a wide array of color, features and designs.
If you want a full-blown outdoor fireplace, you can choose a wood or gas operated model or an electric style with built-in speakers and a CD player with MP3 input. Or you can select a customized stand out model with sleek features to harmonize with your home and lifestyle. It is fueled by a hidden propane tank camouflaged as a side table. There is also a popular fire pit with a large 35 inch porcelain coated steel fire bowl and supported by a stable and fashionable stand. It can use up to four logs. It includes added lifting tools to keep the fire pit safe and easy to operate and clean. It is designed to provide steady heat and controlled fire. With so many styles and designs available, you have to know basic elements and technicalities about the subject to make an intelligent choice.
With regards the materials used to build fireplaces, there are various types. There is the cast iron or cast aluminum type. The beauty of a cast iron is it is quite sturdy and with proper maintenance, it will last a long time. This kind is much heavier than cast aluminum. To prevent it from rusting, hot paint is the answer. Cast aluminum is an excellent choice. It is light in weight and rust resistant. It can last for many years. Another type is the sheet metal fireplace. This is not a popular variety because of its lack of durability. It is also prone to rust.
There is still another option which is the copper fireplace. Although it looks good when it is new, the downside is it rusts very quickly. The last option is a clay or ceramic fireplace. This type is very affordable but is not expected to last long. When canvassing around for the best material, pick the one which is durable and lasts long.
Enjoying the outdoors can be maximized to the fullest even during chilly nights or days with the aid of a stable and beautiful exterior fire pit. You can add your own touch by putting brick, stone or stucco to create the kind of look you desire. Being able to enjoy outdoor living with warmth and coziness during fall, winter and spring should be worth the investment, time and effort you put in to your outdoor fireplace project.
Build Your Own Outdoor Fireplace – Part 4
Before you commit to a specific outdoor fireplace plan and design, do some thinking about what you ultimately want it to look like. Certain outdoor fireplace styles may look better finished a specific way than other styles.
For instance, a fireplace design with a lot of features such as curves, a large hearth, shelving, lighting, etc… may look very nice when finished a particular way, whereas the same finish may not look as good on a simply designed fireplace without all the additional features.
So many products, both natural and synthetic, are available today that look great on outdoor fireplaces. If you plan on implementing tile on your fireplace project, think about the boldness and size of the tile when compared to the size of your structure. A massive fireplace may demand that an 18×18 inch tile be used, and at the same time a smaller scale fireplace may be dwarfed by such a large tile. Many tile designs can be purchased in different sizes whether it’s 6×6 inches, 12×12 inches, and even rectangular shapes.
A very sophisticated look some home owners are choosing to finish their fireplaces with is decorative brick or a brick veneer. This gives the appearance of an indoor fireplace and provides an elegant and rich look. Another veneer many fireplaces are covered with is faux stone. It is truly amazing at how real faux stone can appear. Today’s leaders in faux stone manufacturing are perfecting their methods to a point that some faux stone can’t be distinguished from the real thing without a very close examination. Dozens of different colors, sizes, and textures are available. This material is generally purchased by the square foot and the complexity of the design will dictate the cost. Unlike real stone, faux stone has a flat backside like tile that allows it to be easily adhered to your structure. Then, like tile, a grout can be used to fill gaps and extra space. You can very easily achieve a realistic look.
Stucco is widely used on outdoor fireplaces as well due to its hardiness, simplicity of application, and cost. Stucco can be finished in many textures and can be applied directly to the surface of your block structure. Many construction blemishes such as gaps can instantly be a memory when stucco is correctly used. The beauty of stucco is that it can be painted and touched up when needed. With just a change in color, your fireplace could look completely different and certain design features may stand out that weren’t noticed prior.
For seating and shelving it seems flagstone is being used predominately. It is heavy but very strong. It can be cut with a diamond blade just as what you use to cut cinder blocks with. The dust produced from flagstone cutting isn’t entirely enjoyable, but the finished product is beautiful and rustic looking. As with natural products, flagstone can be found in many colors and variations. Because of this, flagstone can look great with almost any color you pick for your fireplace. Look at different websites for fireplaces until you find designs and finishes you like. Print the pictures and use them later as a reference when choosing your fireplace finishing products. Your final project will look great.